Well hello family!I sent a lot of pictures and hopefully over the course of the email I will explain them all! So like you already knew, we went on a safari with president kretly last week. It was so so fun. We got so insanely close to all the animals. They had zebras, gazelle, warthogs, wildebeest, crocodiles, and a few other animals that I don't know the name of. We drove through, taking pictures, stopping and getting out... Sister Kretly was super funny. She loved how close we could get to the zebras and at one point she was like, Paulo, get out of the car right now and take a picture of me with this zebra! she wanted a picture so bad haha. Then, we got to a rest area and had a big BBQ. While president barbequed, we threw a baseball and a football around. It felt so good to throw a baseball again. And then we all ate and had a really good time. The only thing was, the warthogs aren't afraid of people. In fact they can be kinda vicious. And they kept charging us and scaring us while we were trying to eat haha. After the big barbeque with delicious steaks, we got back in and drove back. Then we just had a normal week, but we were extremely extremely blessed. I'll come back to all that happened. But we had a leadership meeting on Thursday, and President was still here, so he had us come to his house for the meeting, just Elder Hunsaker, Dustin, Kitchen, and me. We went over, had the meeting via skype with the rest of the mission like normal and then when it was all over, he was like so what do you guys think? Should we have another BBQ?? Turns out he bought another mountain of steak and food so we got to hang out with president for a couple more hours and have another BBQ! Let me tell you, president knows how to cook a steak. We left there FULL. Then, Saturday, we helped out a member family with their garden. The wife is pregnant and so she can't do it on her own. So we went over and weeded her garden for her and then tilled up the ground a bit. That is us with her daughter. Her daughter loves us haha. Whenever we come over, she turns into a crazy little girl and just runs around everywhere. So, anyways, back to the work. We were extremely blessed to finally find some new families and also see the area continue to progress. It wasn't after a lot of weeks of sacrifice and prayer though that it did happen. It was a lot of tough weeks to finally have one good week. But I was reminded of a scripture that perfectly describes exactly how I felt after this week.
It comes from Alma chapter 36
20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
21 Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.Clearly, I wasn't feeling pain so exquisite and bitter. But, I can testify that the more we suffer and sacrifice, the greater our joy can be. If we want to experience the joy that can take us up on the mountains, at some point we also have to feel the sadness that takes us down into the valleys. There was an interesting quote that I read this week. It's by Paul V. Johnson and he says, "We must be careful that we don’t resent the very things that help us put on the divine nature." In other words, we shouldn't hate the trials, because its exactly those times that will help us to become more like our Heavenly Father. But that was our week. I really have gained such a great love for the words of our living prophet and other leaders of the church. I have so many quotes that truly can inspire us to be better people. So just a few quotes from my studies this week for you-
D. Todd Christofferson-
In all of this, God’s purpose is that we, His children, may be able to experience ultimate joy, to be with Him eternally, and to become even as He is. Some years ago Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained: “The Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become.”1
Often, the answer to our prayer does not come while we’re on our knees but while we’re on our feet serving the Lord and serving those around us. Selfless acts of service and consecration refine our spirits, remove the scales from our spiritual eyes, and open the windows of heaven. By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer, we often find the answer to our own. -Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings. There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to overcome, or too much discomfort to endure. They understand that the saving ordinances received in the temple that permit us to someday return to our Heavenly Father in an eternal family relationship and to be endowed with blessings and power from on high are worth every sacrifice and every effort. - Thomas S. Monson
These are just a few of the quotes from my studies this week. I love you all and hope you have a great week!!
P.S. One other thing, so we were informed this week that the new mission president has been reassigned to a new mission due to health problems, so our new new mission president will be President Joni Koch. But because of the late notice, his VISA is still being processed and so president Kretly has asked that we all pray and ask our families to pray that his visa comes through on time.
The story behind the "behind" of the gazelle haha. So we're driving and president was like,
do you see how his butt has an "M" on it? and we were like ya we can see. and he was
like, well that stands for McDonalds. Its McDonalds for lions! hahaha.